Saturday, 17 December 2011

Some people pamper their cats

Some people spoil their dogs.

I'm sure that the birds at my bird feeders won't care that their food has been pressed into the shape of a snowman, but I thought it was cute! 

Friday, 16 December 2011

Consume experiences, not things

 Why not give the gift of a fine arts 'exerience' this Christmas?
Noteworthy Canadian Lois Hole (1929 - 2005) says... "It is only through education and art - through music, through books, through theatre - that we will find the wisdom to trade hate for compassion, to trade competition for cooperation. Education and the fine arts engage the human mind, forcing us to think in new ways, forcing us to use our most powerful tool for progress... our imagination."

And one more thing... the gift of a 'fine arts experience' will not need to be returned/exchanged on boxing day.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Season of Symbols

I posted the following message years ago but I think it bears repeating...
I've never been much of a 'Christmas' person. There are just too many expectations at this time of year and most of these things I'm not good at. If I had my way, I'd 'unplug the Christmas machine' and create simple, family-centered traditions that wouldn't include shopping malls or racing from one event to another. However, when it comes to Christmas, I don't have my way.


A couple of years ago I came across a list of Seasonal Strategies written by Harold Rosen who was then the minister of the North Shore Unitarian Church. With this list, Harold invites us to "look behind the all-too-familiar things, and see the Larger Reality they represent." I review this list at the start of each Christmas season and I'm now far more successful at keeping my "mental and spiritual health intact."

I offer Harold's list here, an early Yuletide gift for anyone who takes the time to read my blog.
May your ramp-up to Christmas be only as frantic as you wish it to be.
Season Of Symbols

Gifts - they are more than stuffed boxes covered with shiny paper and ribbons; they are tangible tokens of all those thoughtful things we wanted to 'do' for our loved ones and friends, all year long, but never got around to it.

Cards - the are more than donations to Hallmark and overtime pay for the postal service; they are humble hints of the much we'd like to say if only time, emotional strength and eloquence abounded.

Lights - they are more than electrical fire hazards and jobs for the handy-person in our midst; they conquer the darkness of season and soul with a glimpse of celestial spendour.

Carols - they are more than memory-markers and excuses for extra choir rehearsals; they are auditory proof that heaven is nigh, and that the layers of tradition can heal the layers of our pain.

Angels - they are more than plastic ornaments on trees... they are those whispers we hear just in time, saying "you have what it takes.' 'Good deeds can be fun.' 'Things pass, but Love abides' and 'all will turn out well, despite appearances.'

In peace,

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Dancer & Vixen

Two of Santa's reindeer have arrived at Grouse Mt. to hang out until Christmas. I had the great pleasure of meeting them today, and taking Dancer for a walk around the mountain. They are beautiful, gentle creatures, and so well adapted for the cold weather.

We walked past the bear den where Coola and Grinder are hibernating for the winter. It was odd to think of them in there, sleeping, day after day, without eating anything. There are times when I think that might be a nice way to pass the winter, when the days are short, dark and wet. And what a great way to shed a few pounds! But then I think about what I'd miss: the cozy fires, the beauty of the snow on the mountains and how the Christmas season is so full of sparkle and goodwill and I realize that I wouldn't really want to sleep the winter away after all.

And now I have a couple new furry friends to hang out with one day a week. It makes the short days/long nights more 'bear'able.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Coola and Grinder

For the past few months I have had the pleasure of volunteering at the Grouse Mt. Wildlife Refuge Center. Most of my time has been spent helping the rangers care for the two orphaned Grizzly bears, Coola and Grinder, who have just gone into hibernation. Am I ever going to miss 'my boys'! Each week it was such a thrill to see them lumber out of the forest to splash in the ponds or search out the food we scattered in their forest home. I watched them pack on weight as they prepared for hibernation and then saw them drag boughs from  trees into their winter den to use as bedding. They are amazing, beautiful beasts and how I look forward to their reappearance in the spring!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

When you give a Canadian-authored book this Christmas...

... you give a gift to all of Canada.

Okay, this may sound like shameless self-promotion, but as fellow Canadian author Steve Pitt points out, "Canadian books are written by Canadians for Canadians. Behind every Canadian writer is a MADE IN CANADA team of editors, graphic designers, layout artists, publicists, printers, warehouse staff, delivery drivers and book sellers. Every year the Canadian book industry pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into the the Canadian economy which creates jobs and pays taxes."  

So please, choose Canadian when purchasing books this Christmas.
Thank you.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Writing Retreat

There's nothing like a change of scenery to kick-start the writing muse. First, a new blog to keep the juices flowing and then back to work on the new novel.